Ofcom plans ban on mobile firms selling 'locked' phones

Mobile phone companies would be banned from selling 'locked' handsets, under a range of new plans from Ofcom to make switching even simpler.


Companies including BT/EE, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone still sell mobile phones that cannot be used on other networks unless they are unlocked, which can cost around £10. Ofcom research has found that more than a third of people who decided against switching said this put them off.


Nearly half of customers who try to unlock their device find it difficult. For example, they may experience a long delay before getting the code they need to unlock their device; they might be given a code that does not work; or they could suffer a loss of service if they did not realise their device was locked before they tried to switch.

So we are proposing to ban mobile companies from selling locked phones, allowing people to move to a different network with their existing handset, hassle-free.

This follows major reforms, introduced in July, that mean mobile customers can now switch operator by simply sending a free text message.


Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director, said: “Switching mobile provider can be really frustrating.

“By freeing mobile users from locked handsets, our plans would save people time, effort and money – and help them unlock a better deal.”


Source - Ofcom - https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2019/ban-on-mobile-firms-selling-locked-phones


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